For the second quarter, the S&P 500 was down -12%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell -10%. It was the worst quarter since the start of 2009, and both indexes are now at their lows for 2010. But amid this chaos for the blue chips, many reasonably-priced small caps – and even a few bargain big boys investors have overlooked – are doing quite well.
In a market like this, investors are faced with a basic choice: You can run for cover, or you can buy stocks at very attractive prices to set yourself up for longer-term profits. If I believed stocks were going back to the lows of 2009, I would tell you to be cautious right now. But the recession, financial crisis and bear market were historic events, and the economy and stock markets are in a very different situation now.
That’s why I’m recommending you load up on these 5 bargain stocks for July:
TranS1 (TSON) – I am always on the lookout for companies with an innovative technology or way of doing business that changes the landscape of an industry or even the world we live in. Some of these are obvious and well-known to all of us, like cell phones and personal computers. Other times, the company or technology is not so obvious. That’s where TranS1 (TSON) comes in healthcare stock has developed an amazing new way of doing back surgeries that makes the procedures much better for the patient and much cheaper for the insurance companies. With approximately 250,000 Americans undergoing spinal fusion surgery every year and extremely high costs of between $50,000 and $100,000 per surgery, this is big business.
L&L Energy (LLEN) – LLEN stock popped nicely recently as word came out that the stock was being added to the Russell 3000 index. Recent selling has brought the stock back down under $9, which gives investors a good entry point into this stock with anticipation of it bouncing back quickly. LLEN is an American company with large investments in coal production and processing in China, the nation with the world’s largest appetite for coal. In LLEN’s first quarter of 2010, the company improved its revenues, gross profits, net income, earnings per share and net cash from operating activities. The outlook is promising as well, as the company is projecting 2011 earnings to jump 42%.
Citigroup (C) – Citi is on many traders’ blacklist after the bailout last year, but don’t let old headlines sway you. The stock has traded around $4 recently as financial reform legislation took few unexpected turns with the death of Sen. Robert Byrd, but I am betting on Citigroup benefitting big time once reforms are completed. The bill’s delay is your buying opportunity – and I’m look for a quick 15%-20% gain as financial shares pop after the bill becomes law. Heck, even the government is making money on C. As you may have heard, the U.S. Treasury has been selling some of its stake in Citigroup at an average price of $4.03 per share. With a cost basis of $3.25, that’s nearly a 25% return. The government stopped selling those shares on Tuesday because of the blackout period leading up to Citigroup’s next earnings report on July 16. Don’t pay over $4.10 for shares, but buy C with confidence under that mark.
Joe’s Jeans (JOEZ) – Joe’s Jeans is another stock that was red hot but has pulled back recently with the market volatility. That gives you a great chance to buy on a dip this week. I really like this company’s prospects right now, and other investors who have examined the financial and creative operations of this clothing manufacturer agree. JOEZ designs higher-end but mid-level priced denim jeans and accessories. Denim is certainly no fad. It is sort of like McDonald’s (MCD) — here to stay forever. Plus, denim is a way of life that continues to become more of a global trend than simply an American signature. First-quarter results were solid. Revenue was up 43% year-over-year and they beat estimates by $5 million. Earnings were also positive, but only by $.01. The company took on considerable costs associated with opening their own stores, which they just started in 2008. They plan to open eight new stores in premium outlet malls this year. These are worthwhile expenses and necessary for a beneficial long-term strategy.
Playboy (PLA) - Playboy has been a stellar performer of late, up more than +24% year-to-date, up +15% in the last month and gaining +2.5% last week when everything else was falling! To most people, Playboy magazine means entertainment, fun – and, of course, pretty girls. From articles about politics to the best way to shave with a straight razor, Playboy has offered for decades content guys will read in between the eye candy. The biggest catalyst right now for Playboy’s stock is their recently-announced joint venture with the Las Vegas Sands to open a Playboy Club and a 30,000 square foot Playboy Mansion in the gambling capitol of the world – Macau. The entrance of Playboy into such a highly trafficked part of the world will be huge for the image of Playboy and, ultimately, the bottom line. Playboy is a bit overpriced after its recent run-up, but I would recommend you buy PLA if it dips under $3.80 and target a sell price of around $5.50.